A Brand Old Leadership Model

Who amongst us has not cheated?  Larry says, ‘not me’; but I’ve played golf with Larry, and there’s always a “preferred lie”!

Make no mistake – we are in a leadership crisis.  I know that sounds dramatic, pessimistic, fatalist even; I don’t want it to be but there it is.

Our toxic leaders are casting a broad shadow.  We say we loathe their behaviour and yet there they are, and here we are, still.

Why do we follow corrosive bosses and tolerate dishonest politicians?  Why do so many destructive and greedy business leaders gain and hold so much power?  What sort of culture do we have that promotes dishonest behaviour?

Who’s advising our leaders of the fact they are alienating all but those who are in their image?  Who of us will risk standing away from the group to do the right thing early and with compassion?

Who of us is brave enough to provide honest feedback to temper contemptuous behaviour, set boundaries on the loud, overbearing colleague?  …I don’t mean after a critical incident where our own self-righteousness becomes the devil incarnate or on social media where shaming is safely hidden at arm’s length – that’s the coward’s way.

Why do we place into leadership roles people who are not yet ready to apply the wisdom of cause and effect, not yet able to understand that improving the performance of their mind is now what counts most?  Why do we then abandon the poor souls – when they make the error even Blind Freddy could have seen coming – to solitude and shame?  We ask for nothing more than mediocrity and when it’s delivered with a powerful sting we feel offended.

The challenges we have in 2018 are growing in importance and urgency.   How will we choose to define ourselves?  Will we choose to be a nation intent on growing our minds, opening our hearts and doors, showing forgiveness?

Will we have the courage so desperately needed to drop our craving for significance, wealth and fame and help shape our future leaders, and ourselves, in the noble arts of focused discipline, ethical achievement, generosity of spirit, kindness and gratitude?

We need to reach out with compassion.  We need to get off our high horses and be the better standard ourselves; stop cheating ‘at golf’, at life, and then castigating others with impunity.

These ‘boys’ have done no more or less than what we’ve allowed in this country.  Was this really sport’s darkest day?

Being Effective and Loved at the Same Time

Leadership and Social Skills

You can make more friends in two months by becoming really interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.  Which is just another way of saying that the way to make a friend is to be one.

Dale Carnegie

Two renowned leadership scholars, Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner, offer the following research conclusion:

Researchers looked at a number of factors that could account for a manager’s success.

They found only one factor significantly differentiated the top managers from the bottom managers: high scores on affection – both expressed and wanted.

The highest performing managers show more warmth and fondness toward others than do the bottom 25 percent.  They get closer to people, and they are significantly more open to sharing thoughts and feelings than their low performing counter-parts.

All things being equal, we will work harder and more effectively for people we like.  And we like them in direct proportion to how they make us feel!

James  Kouzes & Barry Posner,  Encouraging the Heart:  A Leaders Guide to Recognising and Rewarding Others,  2003

How to be liked and effective:  it’s a leadership thing!

Scientific research now has evidence that practising kindness is not only good for the recipient but also good for the giver.  Being kind, even when it’s unpleasant, being generous and willing to share especially when you expect nothing in return, genuinely makes people happy.

Happiness = Engagement = Success

Just do two of these (all five if you really get the picture) and see the difference:

  • Show people that you value them
  • Pursue mutual understanding and information sharing
  • Be upfront and straightforward, avoiding games and office politics
  • Approach conflict constructively, staying aware of others’ feelings
  • Bring disagreements into the open and help de-escalate them


Try the Kindness Challenge:

Give yourself a goal of performing Five Acts of Kindness on any single day, once a week.

Aim for actions that really make a difference and come at some cost to you.  Be both creative and thoughtful.

Take stock at the end of the day.  Notice the good feelings that come with your increasing kindness:  the positive connection to the person you helped; the sense of pride you get from making a contribution.

Try it for a few months and see the difference it makes.

Leadership and Likeability

Contrary to conventional wisdom, likeability is high on the scale of importance for successful leaders.

Likeability is a genuine kindness and compassion for others that comes wholly from within and extends indiscriminately without.  It is generous in its offering and profoundly felt when received.

Leadership needs positive intent.  It is more than people merely getting along with one another, being pleasant and ‘nice’ and avoiding conflict.  Every interaction and conversation had by a direct supervisor or manager is an opportunity to stretch beyond the basics. 

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What is Leadership Coaching?

Leadership Coaching is an individual or a team process for leaders and managers; it is designed to bring about more effective and healthier organisations.  Leadership coaching focuses on building in leaders the capability to achieve short- and long-term organisational goals.

Historically, leadership coaching was initiated as a tincture to save derailing managers before the fall-out from their behaviour became too great.  However, most organisations now refuse to wait for trouble; they understand the notion of prevention being better than cure.

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Why do future Public Sector leaders need to be different?

In an environment of significant change marked by fiscal restraint and sustained downsizing, today’s public sector leaders are facing a whole new set of demands.

It’s no longer enough to be good at making decisions about which objectives need to be prioritised:  today’s operating environment requires leaders to be innovative by making tough decisions about services that are now outside capacity altogether.

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